Romance Awaits In Nebraska

Men's Dating

From Rural Relaxation to Big City Fun, Romance Awaits in Nebraska

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema uses her writing skills to create useful and up-to-date content for Chloë is an Emory University grad who is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she works to write material that is engaging, truthful, and as helpful as possible. Being on the front lines of the dating scene, Chloë is committed to staying engaged with the ever-changing world of dating to provide the most useful content to readers.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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The Short Version: You don’t have to leave the country to take a vacation off the beaten path. A trip to Nebraska offers couples rural solitude, vibrant city life, and plenty of outdoor adventure along the way. Jump in the car, venture off the interstate, and experience everything the Cornhusker State offers.

The term “flyover state” has never sat well with me. I’m from a part of the country most people don’t have on their must-visit list, but I know just how much my area has to offer to the people who live there and those who visit.

I spent a summer working in Yellowstone, and on my drive to the national park, I had the pleasure of driving through many of the states that many people only encounter from tens of thousands of miles in the sky.

And, boy, are you missing out if you only fly over. 

Often grouped into the flyover states, Nebraska is home to diverse geographical features, a rich agricultural heritage, bounds of outdoor adventure, and vibrant city life. 

Nebraska offers unexpected adventures and Midwest charm.

Ben Jones is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Visit Nebraska, and he talked to us about everything the state has to offer for couples looking for a romantic getaway.

Whether your ideal couples vacation includes urban exploring, outdoor adventure, or rural solitude – Nebraska can deliver.

“Be prepared for wide open spaces and plenty of room to explore,” Ben said. “The people you meet are very welcoming, and they love to share about themselves and their own histories and backgrounds. People from Nebraska are proud to be from Nebraska.”

Nebraska Marries Rural Charm & Big City Fun

Ben said one of Nebraska’s biggest draws to visitors is its expansive and diverse landscape. The eastern side of the state is home to its main metropolitan areas, including the largest city, Omaha. 

“If you don’t know much about Nebraska, it’s about 2 million people in the whole state, and most everyone lives in the very eastern part between the cities of Lincoln and Omaha. Out west is very sparsely populated,” Ben told us.

Omaha is situated along the Missouri River, and Ben said the riverside area of the city is the site of several exciting new developments.

omaha riverfront
The RiverFront combines over 70 acres and three parks.

“A giant riverfront park area along the Missouri River just opened,” he said. “The RiverFront is a combination of three different parks. It’s a very outdoor, natural, and urban combination. A lot of wide open space for concert venues, outdoor activities, and playgrounds.”

Ben said riverfront development brought in more than lush outdoor spaces. Previously closed museums and new ones opened in the park, creating a unique urban greenspace. 

Couples looking to experience city life in Nebraska should explore Omaha’s downtown. “The Old Market neighborhood is one of the most popular spots in downtown,” Ben said. “It’s a beautiful historic area with cobblestone and brick roads and tons of restaurants, bars, and entertainment.”

The Joslyn Art Museum is Omaha’s world-class art museum. Ben said the museum has been closed for renovations but will reopen in September 2024. The Joslyn Art Museum opened in 1931, and its current collection includes 12,000 objects that represent 5,000 years of human creativity.

nebraska capitol
Lincoln is home to the state’s capitol.

The state’s capitol, Lincoln, is Nebraska’s next largest city and home to the University of Nebraska. Couples can enjoy a tour of the Nebraska State Capitol, a night out in the Historic Haymarket District, or a day in the botanical garden.

Moving into the western part of the state, couples will find charming rural small towns and abundant outdoor space to explore. 

Adventures for the Outdoorsy Couple

Nebraska has nine scenic byways that are perfect for couples looking to explore different parts of the state. 

“We’re a great road trip state,” Ben said. “Interstate 80 runs all the way through, and our scenic byways can take you in different directions in the different corners of the state. Each byway has its own charm.”

The Lincoln Highway National Scenic & Historic Byway is an off-interstate statewide route that covers 400 miles. The route highlights Buffalo Bill, fine art, and the Omaha skyline. Couples can enjoy delicious restaurants, one-of-a-kind recreation areas, and local art districts along the way.

nebraska landmarks
Explore Nebraska’s landmarks, like Chimney Rock, along the scenic byways.

Nebraska is a great state to explore the outdoors. “We have great state parks if you’re into the more hardcore outdoor stuff,” Ben said. Toadstool Geologic Park in Crawford is prime for hiking and features unique terrain.

Often described by visitors as “surreal,” the year-round park features large rock structures and canyons that give visitors a glimpse into ancient history. The park is great for hiking and camping in every season.

“Seasonally, depending on when you visit, there’s different things to look forward to,” Ben said. “Fall is wonderful. The changing colors are great, especially in the southeast part of the state along the river.”

nebraska summer destination
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is a popular summer destination.

Ben said summer is the busiest tourist season. Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area in Ogallala is a top summertime destination. The area is home to Nebraska’s largest reservoir, which features 35,000 acres of water and 100 miles of shoreline.

Couples can swim, boat, and fish at Lake McConaughy. After a long day of adventure, they can enjoy white sand beaches and modern campsites in one of 12 designated areas.

If glamping is more your speed, Ben said Platte River State Park is the place for you. The state park has woodland trails, rocky streams, and panoramic views of the striking Platte River basin. The park offers glamping cabins bestowed with modern amenities, including a spacious bathroom and kitchenette.

Romantic Destinations Off the Beaten Path

Ben said Nebraska is an ideal destination for couples looking for a relaxing escape. One town, aptly named Valentine, offers picturesque views and true peace and quiet.

“It’s quite romantic,” Ben said. “Valentine is in the north-central part of the state in the Sandhills region, and there are a couple of new things happening over there. It’s very rural, but it’s also very beautiful. It’s an outdoor paradise.”

Valentine is home to a nationally designated scenic river and wildlife refuge and Nebraska’s tallest waterfall. Couples can explore the Niobrara National Scenic River, which boasts its own international designation.

“In 2023, the world’s second-ever international Quiet Trail was recognized in the Niobrara National Scenic River,” Ben said. “That means it’s one of the most naturally quiet places on earth. It’s free from the artificial noise pollution most people are accustomed to.”

niobrara national scenic river
Niobrara National Scenic River brings stunning landscapes and exciting outdoor excursions.

That’s not all Valentine has to offer in terms of outdoor activities. Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area is a 3,000-acre reservoir set in the picturesque rolling Nebraska Sandhills. The park offers great fishing, camping, and boating.

“Merritt Reservoir was designated as Nebraska’s first Dark Sky Place,” Ben said. “It’s a big stargazing and astrotourism destination. It’s great for people who want to get out and away– together. It’s naturally dark and quiet.”

Whether you’re in the city or the countryside, Nebraska is going to give you an escape. 

“When we talk about people who come to visit Nebraska, we understand that we’re not going to appeal to everybody,” Ben said. “So we don’t try to. We’re honest and authentic about who we are, and if you’re willing to take the journey, Nebraska will deliver.”